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LITHOGRAPHS BY THE AUTHOR OF THE WALKING MAN EXHIBITED IN BRATISLAVA

Giacometti's own reality revealed

A CULTURAL feast for local art lovers started on Friday, February 13, when the Bratislava City Gallery (GMB) opened My Reality, the first ever Slovak exhibition of works by Alberto Giacometti, one of the most acclaimed sculptors of the 20th century. According to Daniela Čarná, the gallery's public relations manager, about 80 lithographs from Giacometti's book Paris sans fin (Paris without End), along with three sculptures and one painting, are displayed in the rooms of Mirbach Palace.


THE EXHIBITION also features several of the artist's statues.
photo: Courtesy of GMB

A CULTURAL feast for local art lovers started on Friday, February 13, when the Bratislava City Gallery (GMB) opened My Reality, the first ever Slovak exhibition of works by Alberto Giacometti, one of the most acclaimed sculptors of the 20th century. According to Daniela Čarná, the gallery's public relations manager, about 80 lithographs from Giacometti's book Paris sans fin (Paris without End), along with three sculptures and one painting, are displayed in the rooms of Mirbach Palace.

Giacometti was just as great a painter as he was a sculptor. The lithographs that the artist made during the final eight years of his life document his peculiar perception of reality. Giacometti sketched intimate views of Paris and the people familiar to him. He depicted his closest friends, his brother and assistant Diego, strangers at café tables, and passers-by in spontaneous detail.

The exhibition, which lasts until April 11, is being held in cooperation with the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia under the auspices of Swiss Ambassador Rudolf Staub and Bratislava Mayor Andrej Ďurkovský. The exhibited works arrived from the Alberto Giacometti Foundation in Zurich.

In an interview with Pierre Sneider, Giacometti admitted that the reality of the outer world remained a mystery to him. In his sculptures, paintings, drawings, and graphic works, he strived to capture the existential loneliness of modern humans.

Throughout his life, Giacometti (1901-1966) portrayed human figures in various styles and media. Born near Stampa, Switzerland, to neo-impressionist painter Giovanni Giacometti, he had artistic intentions and influences from when he was a child. After a period of travelling and studying, Giacometti settled in Paris in 1922. During the next few years, he created cubist works and abstract linear constructions, which brought him to the attention of the surrealists. Before long, he became an acclaimed member of their movement.

As a result of a deep artistic crisis that started in 1934, the artist began to tackle the problem of situating figures in space in an entirely new way, thus developing his own style. A car accident in 1938, which left him limping, pushed him to think about walking and balance. He struggled in his sculptures to convey his visual concept of a model in empty space at a far distance.

Giacometti's post-World War II figure sculptures had skeletal bodies with gouged surfaces. One of his most famous sculptures from this period, The Walking Man, has become a symbol for human existence. It expresses all the struggle of existence, the complexity and unity of life, and modern human solitude, but also the dignity of a man facing himself, walking toward a new destiny, and facing hope.

Giacometti's paintings have a similar effect. The book Paris sans fin, which features a sequence of 150 lithographs, was the artist's last work. Giacometti died of heart disease and chronic bronchitis in Chur, Switzerland.

The exhibition runs from Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 18:00, at the Mirbach Palace of the City Gallery of Bratislava at Františkánske námestie 11. Admission is Sk60 and Sk30. Tel: 02/5443-1556 (-7,-8).

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